Digital fundraising provides an incredible way to publish your community message with the focus on earning more with less to meet your PTA or PTO goals. Digital fundraising solutions offer tools to publish your story quickly providing a true cost savings that can be essential to your bottom line. That said, while digital fundraising provides you with the opportunity to reach a larger audience, it's still up to you to create that story and connection with donors.
Executing a successful digital fundraising campaign requires good planning and a solid communication strategy. There are several factors to consider depending on the size and complexity of your project, but as a rough guide, the process can be broken into three stages over a 30 day planning cycle.
Planning (14 days) – Develop an outline that defines what you want to achieve, costs involved, as well as resources needed. Essemble a small core team to discuss and share ideas that will shape out how you will execute against your fundraising goals. Also, research online vendors and ask the appropriate questions as to whether their online services provide the right tools to support your community fundraising plans. If a vendor doesn't provide quality support to answer your questions, it's probably safe to say that their solution isn't the one for you.
- Write a one-page overview and essemble a small team to explore ideas and shape your fundraising message.
- Do research on what vendor will work for you and support your goals.
- Establish overall theme, objectives, goals and rewards for participation.
- Don't rush and take some time to plan.
- Don't do it alone. Get feedback and edorsement from your school faculty.
Storytelling (7-14 days) - Fundraising is all about storytelling and how well you define your story will go a long way in connecting with donors. Whether it's visual (image), rich media (video), or deeper storytelling, try to provide your supporters with a complete story - including goals as well what you are planning to do with the profits you are trying to raise. Net/net, go the extra mile with your so that your supporter know what you are asking from them.
- Use images and video to inform and support your fundraising story.
- Research vendors that have publishing tools to support posting rich media (images; videos).
- Write out how you plan to use the profits from your fundraiser so donors have a clear picture of your goals.
- Don't cut corners and be vague about what your intentions are with your donors.
- Don't set goals and objectives that are too far to reach.
Engagement (pre and post launch) – Building a communication plan is a critical component of a successful digital fundraiser. The Field of Dreams movie quote, "If you build it, they will come" doesn't always work out since communication is key to getting users to join in and start raising money for your cause. Take the time to think about a strong communication plan that will resonate with your community and get them engaged.
- Design a communication plan that is informative, instructional, and provides step-by-step guidance to your supporters.
- Communicate often to keep users engaged with your fundraiser. Social media and post updates to provide updates on progress.
- Provide a launch plan as well as end date celebration that connects and rewards your supporters.
- Not providing a clear instruction and guidance to your objectives and goals.
- Stop communicating with your supporters.
- Not rewarding participation
While you might look at bottom line profits that can be gained by switching your event-based fundraiser to digital, you still need to remember that technology is just that...technology. It doesn't create the story and just provides you with the tools to build it.
The story up to you!